Moody’s Investors Service has placed the Baa1 rating on Lackawanna County’s $232 million of outstanding general obligation bonds under review for possible downgrade.

The rating agency cited the county’s fiscal 2009 audit, which said its financial performance was “materially worse” than expected.

“Our current review will focus on the county’s ongoing financial strain, including its narrow liquidity position and vulnerability related to its variable-rate demand debt,” Moody’s said. “Absent a realistic plan to return to structural balance and replenish reserve to previous levels, the county’s creditworthiness faces considerable downward pressure.”

Lackawanna, which includes Scranton, has an $8.7 billion tax base. Standard & Poor’s withdrew its rating at the county’s request in July 2010 after lowering it to BB.

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